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Wednesday April 27, 2011 5:50 am

Canucks beat Blackhawks and all is right with the world




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL, Playoffs,

Roberto LuongoIt‘s a good day to be Roberto Luongo. The Vancouver Canucks goaltender played one of the best games of his career in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks and ended up getting much more than just a win. Luongo was almost perfect, stopping 31 of 32 shots, but faltered only once during the game. Unfortunately, that came with just 1:56 left to play in regulation when Jonathan Toews finally solved him and sent the game into overtime.

Luongo’s epic collapses in big game situations, both recent and long ago, are well documented. When he allowed that late goal, thoughts of disaster must have crossed the mind of every Canucks fans both in the arena and watching on television. They’d seen this before from him. His demons had caught up once again. Instead of succumbing to them this time, he steadied himself and continued to battle for not only his season, but possibly his career in Vancouver.

There’s no telling what the fans or team would do with Luongo if he blew another one. Despite his 12-year contract, many assumed that he would be shipped out of town overnight if he lost again to the team that has ousted his Canucks two years in a row. After leading Vancouver to the President’s Trophy, losing in the first round to a team that didn’t even win its way into the playoffs would be inexcusable. But Luongo would have none of that. Many think that when he’s on, he’s the best goalie in the world. And against the Blackhawks on Tuesday night, Luongo was on.

Luongo and Hawks goalie Corey Crawford basically went save-for-save all night long. Neither goalie was caught out of position often. Both had their trappers working like a baseball catcher’s. Each refused to let an opposing player outwit him and slide a pretty goal between his legs or around his body. In the end, it took a blast by Alex Burrows on a rolling puck from 20 feet away to end the game and the series. It was a shot that Crawford will want back for the rest of his life, and Burrows – who has the winning puck – will never give up. And Luongo will get to do it all over again against Nashville in a couple of days.

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